Stage makeup artists are crucial to the success of stage productions. Before applying that first layer of makeup, makeup artists must read through the script to understand what emotions are being conveyed. They need to take into account the setting and get to know how the actors speak and act. Successful makeup artists do historical research, sit through rehearsals, and observe stage movements and lighting to determine how to apply makeup. A lot of makeup tips culminate from trial and error.
See the Big Picture
Take in rehearsals from various seats and angles in the venue to see what the audience might see. Watch the actors under direct lighting close-up on stage. Your expertise in gauging the entire production, then applying what you see to stage makeup, will make all the difference to a successful production — and your future in the business. Keep experimenting with the basic eight color pigments: violet, blue, blue-green, green, red, orange, yellow and purple under the same color filters. If you’re shooting for a dark violet, you won’t get it by violet makeup tones under yellow lights; you’ll just get a ruddy dark brown. Also keep in mind that what works for a man’s face, a woman’s complexion and a child’s delicate skin will differ.
Blend It Well
Perfect your skills at blending makeup, because your reputation as a makeup artist will depend on how others view your work on the stage. Spread creme foundation, pancake makeup, or greasepaint, the waxy, durable pan-cake makeup still used by some makeup artists, in thin layers, blending well. Most makeup artists choose creme foundation for its ease of use. All types of makeup can melt under hot lights, so don’t forget to set with a neutral, dry powder after application. When adding foundational highlights, opt for adding a little at a time. It’s easier to add than to take away and risk having to redo the entire face.
Apply Color Lighting
Stage makeup will look fake unless it meshes with the color and intensity of the light filters of the stage venue. To circumvent the effect, apply makeup under dominant color filters that will be used in the play while in the makeup room using high intensity lamps. Popular blue filters don’t transmit red tones well, making pinks and reds look dull and dead under the lights. Scientifically, color is not seen until parts of the light spectrum is absorbed and/or reflected.
Pay attention to the fine details, because those who hire makeup artists will be doing the same. Apply mascara in layers to darken eyes instead of putting color on all at once for thickness. Use only black or brown mascara, eyeliner and eyebrow pencils. Powdering eyelashes or eyebrows lightly between coats aid in thickening color, setting stage makeup so that it doesn’t run under hot lights.You don’t want an actor looking washed out or ghoulish.